Dec 22 2014
So, I have 2 articles for you this morning and then a quiz my sister and I put together last night!
First, a sliver of hope for justice:
In intentionally presenting false testimony to the grand jury, McCulloch may have committed a serious ethical breach. Under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are prohibited from offering “evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.”
McCulloch justified his actions by asserting that the grand jury gave no credence at all to McElroy’s testimony. But this is speculation. Under Missouri law, the grand jury deliberations are secret and McCulloch is not allowed to be present.
A Missouri lawmaker, Karla May, called Friday for a legislative investigation of McCulloch’s conduct. May said that there is evidence to suggest that McCulloch “manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.”
Even before Friday’s interview, many legal experts were highly critical McCulloch’s use of the grand jury. Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said she believed McCulloch “did not want an indictment” of Darren Wilson and turned the grand jury process on its head, acting as an advocate for the defense.
Dec 16 2014
I have 2 articles for ya this morning!
First, the torture argument framed in a food for thought way:
The comparisons between bank robbery and torture don’t end there. Our government and media have made the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques” sound perfectly acceptable, when we all know it is simply a euphemism for torture. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley parodied this phrase when he pointed out that waterboarding is no more an enhanced interrogation technique than bank robbery is an enhanced money withdrawal technique.
Dec 13 2014
Often I see it mentioned by folks that the country is going to hell in a handbasket and bemoaning the state of our society. This is often accompanied by myriad reasons, some of which seem to have more merit than others in my opinion.
While I tend to agree with the statement in general, and several of the reasons in particular, I have come upon what I consider a defining moment among the reasons, and that is defending the torture that our gov’t and its operatives did in our name.
I’m sorry, but it’s beyond the pale. There is NO defense for torture. Not for doing it to an animal or a human being, period, full stop. That there are so many people that are seemingly defending it in the aftermath of the release of the Executive Summary of the torture report disheartens me greatly.
Dec 08 2014
I have 3 articles for your perusal this Monday morning.
First up, a great piece about what will happen if we stay on our current trajectory:
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring-or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.
Dec 05 2014
What’s going on in America with regards to the killing of black men for pretty petty crimes so often now really reminds me of the old days of lynchings. In those days, the white folks in town played judge, jury, and executioner of a great many black folks who they had accused of some crime or another. They didn’t get a trial. And then they would pose around the bodies and take pictures, sometimes even smiling as if they were proud. Those pictures would be made into postcards that they could send to friends and family. Really not something to be proud of imo.
I suggest everyone take a look at some of the pics in the links below to get a feel for what it was like. These photos are not something you want kids to see or your work to see, so keep in mind that they are purely and graphically brutal. It’s jarring, seeing the actuality, and if you’re like me, you were probably raised maybe occasionally hearing references to it, but to truly understand the barbaric nature of us you have to view the pictures. Keep in mind this was just last century, and many of them in my parent’s lifetime. I will never forget the first time I was confronted with the pictures of our actual past, a past that should haunt us and disgust us.
When i think of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the others that have been shot and killed in the recent past, I think that we really haven’t moved that far past the old lynching days. We may have outlawed old style lynchings, but nowadays we’ve seemingly codified a new way of doing it: via law enforcement. And still for accused crimes, many of them petty, no trial allowed. We’re still lynching them albeit without the postcard pictures. And then we’re insulting the folks who do nonviolently protest. Sigh…
As I said, I’m forewarning you that these pictures are graphically brutal. Take a good look at our horrible past and maybe understand some of the anger:
Dec 03 2014
I have 3 articles for you loosely related to Ferguson via racism, protest, and police murders.
The first is a law I think all states should have, in addition to police having to wear cameras that are on when they are on duty.
It took six years to get our wrongful death lawsuit settled, and my family received $1.75 million. But I wasn’t satisfied by a long shot. I used my entire portion of that money and much more of my own to continue a campaign for more police accountability. I wanted to change things for everyone else, so no one else would ever have to go through what I did. We did our research: In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, we could not find a single ruling by a police department, an inquest or a police commission that a shooting was unjustified. There was one shooting we found, in 2005, that was ruled justified by the department and an inquest, but additional evidence provided by citizens caused the DA to charge the officer. The city of Milwaukee settled with a confidentiality agreement and the facts of that sealed. The officer involved committed suicide.
Dec 01 2014
Well, post holiday weekend I have 2 things for your perusal.
First the bad news:
The war over science is heating up on Capitol Hill.
GOP House members have had little success reining in research agencies so far, but, emboldened by their growing majorities, they’re hoping for better luck next year. They plan to push proposals to cut funding for global warming and social science research, put strict new rules on the National Science Foundation’s grant-making process and overhaul how science informs policy making at the EPA.
At the same time, however, researchers and their advocates in the Democratic caucus are taking increasingly aggressive stances of their own: Rather than answer GOP objections one by one, or brush them off, they’re making a larger issue of what they see as heavy-handed interference based on ideology rather than methodology.
Nov 27 2014
Today is Thanksgiving Day! I hope you all are going to have a wonderful holiday and eat lots of good food and have good conversation! Since it is a holiday, I have one feel good article and then a traditional Thanksgiving song.
This is a writeup of a great story. It’s from GOS, but has links for the more in depth story. There is no one great link to give you, but several that work in tandem, hence the GOS diary:
St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown has left the NFL to pursue farming:
“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” Brown told CBS. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”
It’s a great story. This guy is a hero!
Nov 24 2014
Nov 19 2014
I have 3 articles for you this Wednesday morning!
First, on media complicity in framing our drone victims:
Since its 2012 report, the Times itself has tended to avoid the “militant” language in its headlines, but often lends credence to dubious official claims, as when it said this about a horrific U.S. drone strike last December on a Yemeni wedding party that killed 12 people and wounded at least 15 others, including the bride: “Most of the dead appeared to be people suspected of being militants linked to Al Qaeda, according to tribal leaders in the area, but there were also reports that several civilians had been killed.” Other U.S. media accounts of that strike were just as bad, if not worse. The controversies over the definition of “militant” are almost never mentioned in any of these reports.
A new article in The New Yorker by Steve Coll underscores how deceptive this journalistic practice is. Among other things, he notes that the U.S. government itself-let alone the media outlets calling them “militants”-often has no idea who has been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. That’s because, in 2008, George W. Bush and his CIA chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, implemented “signature strikes,” under which “new rules allowed drone operators to fire at armed military-aged males engaged in or associated with suspicious activity even if their identities were unknown.” The Intercept previously reported that targeting decisions can even be made on the basis of nothing more than metadata analysis and tracking of SIM cards in mobile phones.
Nov 17 2014
I have two articles for ya; one not so good and the other pretty cool:
First, probably not the area in which we want a lot of incompetence:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering a massive overhaul of America’s nuclear weapons program after finding that “we’ve taken our eye off the ball,” he said at a press conference on Friday morning. The Pentagon released a review of the nuclear forces that found outdated equipment, weak leadership, and abysmal morale among the men and women responsible for maintaining and launching some of the most destructive weapons on the planet. It found, for example, that the Air Force had only one wrench to attach and remove nuclear warheads on 450 ICBMs at three different bases. Maintenance officers would FedEx it among the bases.
The wrench fiasco, since remedied, “is reflective and indicative of a system that has been allowed to slowly back downhill,” Hagel said. “We must change the culture of the nuclear force, especially in the Air Force.”
Nov 10 2014
I have 3 for you this Monday morning.
First, on the culprits of Climate Change:
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.